Arteta: Form won't matter when we head to Man Utd

Mikel Arteta and Erik ten Hag

The Premier League title race sees us travel to Old Trafford for our final away game of the season on Sunday, but Mikel Arteta doesn’t expect the form of the two sides to be much of a factor in deciding the result.

We make the journey up north full of courage and desire following last weekend’s 3-0 win at home to Bournemouth, while Erik ten Hag’s side will be desperate to show a response to Monday night’s stunning 4-0 defeat away to Crystal Palace.

However Old Trafford is historically a difficult place for us to go, having won just four times in our 31 trips, and Mikel feels that the quality at his opposite number's disposal means it's going to a difficult task to get the win necessary to keep our title ambitions going.

“Every game has a different context,” he said in his pre-match press conference on Friday afternoon. “We know the difficulty and the history when you look at what we’ve done over there, so we’re going to have to be at our best to earn the right to win the game.

“The difficulty there is the quality of the opposition, the quality of the individuals and the manager. It brings a lot of challenges but we’ve been in very difficult stadiums this season and done very well so hopefully we can do the same on Sunday.”

We demonstrated our willingness to always demand more in this season’s previous meeting with United - a 3-1 win at Emirates Stadium in early September.

Marcus Rashford’s goal saw us go behind in that game, but an instant equaliser from Martin Odegaard had us level right up until the 96th minute, when Declan Rice became a hero with a goal at the back post. Gabriel Jesus then put the game to bed on the counter-attack in the 11th minute of added time.

“It was a game with a lot of alternatives,” Mikel recalled. “It was a difficult one and there were small margins because they had a huge moment when the goal was disallowed.

“Then we turned the game around and scored two very good goals, so that tells you the quality of them and what we’re going to have to do to beat them.”

Since his first trip to Old Trafford as our manager, which was a 1-0 win in November 2020, Mikel has witnessed a significant evolution in his squad.

“It moves so fast and so many things happen daily that you don’t tend to remember much about what happened three or four years ago,” he said. “It’s true that it’s been an unbelievable journey in every sense with a lot of changes and how we have come far from where we were, but there’s still a lot to come.”

Read every word of Mikel’s pre-Manchester United press conference

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